Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"Uncle Chuck Brownies"

It's been a week since Uncle Chuck's death, almost to the hour. As my parents house is a whirlwind of preparations for Christmas, I chose to make my new brownie creation that I created over Thanksgiving break.

When I came home last month, my fiance and I were planning to stop by to see my uncle on the way to KC from STL. I wanted to bring something for him, but I didn't have very much extra time to bake during the short time I was in Missouri. I decided brownies would be acceptable and take less time than the apple pie I normally make around Thanksgiving. I generally don't like brownies that I make, they always tend to be too thin and hard around the edges. I've never been very pleased with them. So, I began to brainstorm with my mom. I love brownies that are thick and moist . . . so, maybe I could put two boxes of brownies into one pan. And a bag of chocolate chips would make them more moist, right? I placed the brownies into the oven, hopeful about the results of the new experiment. When the brownies were done, they looked delicious!
As I sit here waiting for those same brownies to bake, I'm thinking of my Uncle and adding one last thing to the recipe. When we took the brownies to my uncle, he was not at all disappointed at the sight of brownies. He suggested my aunt bring in "that stuff to make it al a mode!" Whipped Cream! I know that I will forever think of Uncle Chuck when I make these brownies, and I am confident that he is hear with us this season. So, here's the simple, yet absolutely delicious recipe, for all to share!

Uncle Chuck Brownies

2 Boxes Brownie Mix (including all ingredients: i.e. eggs, oil, water)
1 bag of Milk Chocolate Chips
1 Carton Whipped Cream

Heat oven as directed according to box's 8X8 (Thickest) temperature
Grease bottom of 9 X 13 pan, or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Combine one box of brownie mix and ingredients as directed on box.
Pour batter into pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over brownie batter.

Then, combine second box of brownie mix and ingredients as directed on box. Pour batter into pan, over chocolate chip layer.

Bake according to time on box for 8X8 pan (Thickest). Remove from oven and let cool.

When serving, add dollop of whipped cream to each serving. Store covered.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Forever he is free, You hold him now . . .

On that day when I see
All that You have for me
When I see You face to face
There surrounded by Your grace

All my fear is swept away
In the light of your embrace
When Your love is all I need
And forever I am free

Where the streets are made of gold
In Your presence healed and whole
Let the songs of heaven rise to you alone

No weeping, no hurt or pain
No suffering You hold me now
You hold me now
No darkness no sick or lame
No hiding You hold me now,
You hold me now

For eternity
All my heart will give
All the glory to Your name

"You Hold Me Now" by Hillsong

Today, my uncle and God-father went to be with Our Lord. He had been bravely battling the monster of pancreatic cancer, but after a valient effort, his battle and pain is now over.

I had just stepped off of the plane in Kansas City when I returned my mother's message. Not the most pleasant greeting to my Christmas vacation . . . I've been thinking about my dad, his brothers and sisters, my aunt, and my cousins alot, and praying that God holds them tight in His arms to ease their pain. As I contemplated if God was giving each of them the comfort they need in this difficult time, it was made evidently clear to me that, based on my own experiences, there is no doubt in my mind that He is doing just that.

Since I started dating my now fiance, I have lost 3 people in my life. Each time I heard the heartbreaking news, I was hours away from my family, but God gave me the blessing of placing Dan nearby to comfort me. The first, a life-long family friend that I shared most of my childhood vacations with. I was living in St. Louis at the time, and able to leave early from work and head straight to Dan's house. The second, my grandfather. I was at college at the time, 4 1/2 hours from home, but Dan happened to be visiting me that weekend and was sitting next to me when I got the phone call. And today, my Uncle Chuck. I had just met my fiance at the gate when I returned my mother's call.It's amazing how God always puts everything into place.

God is a comforting and loving Father. Even though we are joyful in knowing that our loved ones are finally with Him in heaven, he knows how difficult and painful it is for us to see them go and continue life on earth without them. So here is my moment of clarity: I can guarantee that in each of the situations I mentioned above, I was not the first person that God needed to comfort at the time. If God was taking so much care to place me in situations that would provide cushioning for the grief, he must be taking that much more care of those who are closest to that loved one.

Thank you, Lord, for your unending love and care for your grieving children. Please continue to comfort and hold my family in your arms as we endure the heartache, especially my aunt.

My greatest memories of my uncle: When he, his wife, and another aunt and uncle came to visit me while I studied abroad in Italy. They bought me my first drink of alcohol for my 21st birthday (Italian wine, of course)! The days throughout my life that we would go to Sunday Mass and see Uncle Chuck. It was always a pleasant surprise and gift to see him when he was in town. The times he was goofy and silly; when he was most joyful. When he and my aunt witnessed my baptism an pledged to teach me about Christ. (ok, so I don't remember this, but it is great!)

Uncle Chuck, thank you for your presence in my life, when you knew you were making a difference and when you didn't. We love you and will miss you until we meet again.

For the repose of the soul of Chuck Stack: Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Most faithful God, lively is the courage of those who hope in You. Your servant Chuck suffered greatly, but placed his trust in Your mercy. Confident that the petition of those who mourn pierces the clouds and finds an answer, we beg You, give rest to Chuck. Do not remember his sins, but look upon his sufferings and grant him refreshment, light, and peace. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Isaiah 40:29-31
He gives strength to the weary, and strenght to the powerless . . . They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagles' wings; They will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.

Revelation 21:4
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Blog I'd like to share with the blogging world

A friend from college has an amazing story being told at this blog. I strongly suggest everyone read about her and her husbands little saint. :)

Baby Cronister Updates